Every year on or near the first day of spring I host an Ostara celebration to welcome this long-awaited season of Spring.
Maybe I am so eager to welcome spring because I live in New England, where it sometimes feels like the winter season will NEVER end. This year in particular felt this way. Maybe because I haven’t socialized very much for the second year in a row in order to keep myself and my loved ones safe… It has been a looooong winter. Add this to the fact that I haven’t spent as much time as I would like out in nature.
So, the first day of spring is quite the reason to celebrate!!! Personally, I feel like we can finally LIVE again when Spring arrives. For me, it’s like I’ve been in some sort of limbo for weeks now. We can finally get outdoors again (comfortably). We can plant gardens…thank goodness, and take walks, and do yard work, and get fresh air. What could be better? Not much, if you ask me.
So maybe now you’re wondering…what IS Ostara and why should I celebrate?
What is Ostara?
Ostara is another word for the first day of Spring. It’s also commonly referred to as the vernal or spring equinox.
Ostara is a day of perfect balance when the sun can be seen directly above the earth’s equator. It is the time when light and dark are completely equal, before the scales are tipped in light’s favor.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, our daylight hours will continue to lengthen until the summer solstice in June. I simply swoon at the idea of longer, sunnier days where I can do more gardening or spend more time outdoors… don’t you?
What Ostara Means
Ostara takes its name from the Germanic goddess of spring, Eostre/Ostara. She was traditionally honored and celebrated during the month of April with feasts and celebrations similar to today’s Easter celebrations. These celebrations focused on fertility, new beginnings and rebirth… all the things associated with springtime.
Eostra, Goddess of spring, is also associated with the cycles of the moon and natural places. Her priestesses were called “wudu-maer” or “Wood Mothers” and during Spring rites it was customary to offer them bread, dumplings, and buns. The markings on these cakes included the crosses and sun wheels which Saxons believed symbolized the cosmic balance of heaven and earth at the Spring Equinox.
What Are The Symbols of Ostara?
Colors: Green, pink, blue
Foods: Eggs, honey, sprouted greens, baked goods, asparagus
Stones: Aquamarine, amethyst, rose quartz
Symbols: Rabbits, eggs, spring flowers, lambs, clover, baskets
Flowers & Plants: clover, daffodils, crocus, tulips & snowdrops
Incense: Violet, honeysuckle, narcissus, and lemon
Herbs: meadowsweet, cleavers, clover, lemongrass, spearmint, and catnip.
Deities: Isis, Estotre, Adonis
Make This Ostara Celebration Centerpiece
When planning an Ostara celebration, I like to include a springtime centerpiece for the table. Here is a super cute idea using eggshells to make little candles that can be lit on celebration day. This cute and simple craft only requires eggshells and thick, small wicks, and melted wax . These smell terrific and are such a fun way to incorporate nature into your celebration and bring in the season with a pop of color. For the full tutorial, watch the video below.
Why You Should Plan An Ostara Celebration
I used to feel disconnected from my life and out of alignment like I couldn’t quite get a handle on things. I felt seriously untethered like I was being thrown adrift by life’s storms.
That was before I embraced a life of seasonal celebrations, closer to nature and full of ancestral lifeways wisdom and plant magic. I have found that when you are out of alignment with seasonal energy, it impacts how you feel – physically & emotionally. It affects hows you show up & impacts every part of your life.
It’s true that our ancestors were more connected to the Sun than we are today. They observed its pathway across the sky; they tracked how the sunrise, sunset, and day length changed, using the Sun (and Moon) as a clock and calendar.
Now, I don’t expect us to become that intuned to our natural world, but we can connect on a deeper level than we now do.
The act of planning and preparing an Ostara celebration can help you feel rooted & empowered in your life, by giving you a deep understanding of seasonal energy.
What Ostara Foods Should Be Included?
Typical Ostara celebration foods include eggs, honey, sprouted greens, hot cross buns, and asparagus.
I’ve gotten creative with our Ostara celebration foods and like to experiment with using colors, flavors, and herbs.
Pictured below is a tri-colored cauliflower dish I often serve because it’s flavored with lemon and herbs and it looks so springy. It’s so simple and delicious!
I also like to make Hot Cross Buns (pictured below) which were originally made for and by the early European pagans of eons past. Symbolically woven and braided, sometimes filled with magical eggs and blessed with sacred symbols, they were offerings to the spring goddess of fertility, Eostre. These buns are the ancestors of modern challahs and babkas—special loaves of bread that still grace our Easter tables today.
Additionally, I typically make Lavender and Lemon Shortbread (another personal favorite), deviled eggs, herbed focaccia, quiche, or egg frittata with asparagus, etc… I love to cook so this is fun for me, but I recognize that not everyone is a cook.
You can plan a great Ostara celebration easily with store-bought or easily prepared foods. The important thing is to remain mindful of why you’re preparing Ostara foods in the first place. It’s to reconnect with nature and our place in the natural world, something we seem to have lost in this modern age.
Other Ways to Celebrate Ostara
I hope that you, too, will gain a deeper understanding of seasonal energy while celebrating the changing of the seasons. Your connection with the Earth is personal and individual, but it’s something we all can benefit from cultivating throughout the year. Hopefully, this information has inspired you to join in the festivities, or at least find ways to incorporate other spring festivals into your life. Ostara belongs to all of us!
There are so many easy and simple things you can do for an Ostara celebration. Here is a list of 13 ways to Celebrate Ostara to get you going.
The vernal equinox signals new beginnings and nature’s renewal, so look around! Observe! What are the signs of spring in your region? Please share in the comments below!